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Creating a Circle of Care Through Tutoring

By Eric Steckel
February 20, 2024

Alejandro’s Remarkable Path to Math and Jeanne’s Dream Fulfilled
Alejandro with Jeanne at MLK

Your gifts have been a blessing to Alejandro and Jeanne. “He can see his own progress, and each time he comes, he gets a little bit better and a little more confident. So it’s both my excitement and his enthusiasm.”

Children Rising volunteer tutoring programs nurture children in a circle of care, enabling them to thrive in subjects that seemed out of their reach. A beautiful aspect of the relationship is that they also provide caring adults an opportunity to learn a new vocation—and, in some cases, to follow their dreams.

Alejandro Thrives in Math … and Develops Confidence in Learning

Alejandro is a second-grader who speaks Spanish at home, and English is his second language. When Jeanne Cooney, his Path2Math tutor, met Alejandro, he was at a kindergarten level in his math skills.

Will you complete HER Circle of Care?

Through one-on-one reading and math tutoring, and family support, you will nurture an eager child in a circle of care so they may succeed in school.

“He was a quiet little guy who was reluctant to engage in the program,” Jeanne recalls. “He could identify numbers maybe up to 15 but struggled past 15. We had a hard time getting past 15, but we just kept working and working,”

Frequently, ESL children have difficulty translating numbers and words from their native tongue into English. It takes time and patience to help them make the connection. After working twice a week for the past four months, a light seemed to go on in his head, and he rapidly began to count past 15 all the way to 100.

“It’s making a difference. He’s just a super eager kid and curious. He’s seen a little bit of progress, and I think he wants more,” Jeanne said. Indeed, Alejandro is now working on fractions and mastering skills far beyond counting to 15. Currently, his online assessment scores show that he is now at an early second-grade level.

“Building trust and making them feel comfortable, even if they don’t get the answer right, is critical. I tell him, ‘It’s okay. We’re going to work through it.’”

Jeanne Finds A New Vocation … and a Dream Realized

Jeanne was a stay-at-home mom who long harbored aspirations to teach. When her husband John retired, Path2Math provided an opportunity to go into a school and teach children math together.

“It’s just been a wonderful experience for my husband and me. We get as much out of it as the kids do, that’s for sure. And you grow to kind of love them and just love the challenge of seeing them get better.”
Jeanne and John Cooney at H4CN_Gala 2023-100

“I like tutoring with my husband. It’s something that we can do together, and we like to chat about it afterward. We like to think of things to do that are creative and bounce things off one another.”

“My husband and I wanted to do something together as a retired couple. And I always wanted to explore teaching and working in a school. I feel like in a lot of ways it’s kind of fulfilling that dream of mine, to actually get to work with kids, and teach them, and help facilitate their learning,” Jeanne revealed.

Thanks to your support, Jeanne has discovered a new vocation, and Alejandro has developed confidence in learning.

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Perspectives — Saving Our Kids is an Upstream Approach

By Jim Wambach
February 13, 2024

Let’s Address Crime Before it Develops
“Law is downstream from culture. By the time you make a law about something, you’re reacting, not acting. I’d rather shape the culture.” – Rick Warren
Carla and Path2Math Student at Sankofa

Your support of Children Rising one-on-one tutoring programs enables us to nurture children in a circle of care and address a critical societal issue upstream so more kids can enjoy a fuller, safer, and more prosperous life.

Recently, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has sought to address Oakland’s high crime by resurrecting the successful Ceasefire program, credited with saving 140 lives over a five-year period. Programs like ceasefire may indeed save lives, but most programs like these address the problem downstream of the problem’s headwaters.

Addressing the problem with an upstream approach

We know that success in school at a young age provides children with a much fairer chance of living a healthy, prosperous life, free of the street violence and crime we are witnessing today.

As a community, we are called to partner together with families and educators to nurture children in a circle of care. When we provide young children with essential learning support, they develop the skills, self-confidence, and hope necessary to mitigate future hardships and address societal issues stemming directly from those hardships.

Will you complete HER Circle of Care?

Through one-on-one reading and math tutoring, and family support, you will nurture an eager child in a circle of care so they may succeed in school.

Children who learn to read and understand foundational math skills are far more likely to succeed in middle school, graduate from high school, and enjoy a fuller, safer, more prosperous life. And when individuals prosper, communities prosper.

Unfortunately, too many of our precious young children do not receive the educational support they desperately need. Indeed, nearly 75% of Oakland second and third-graders are two or more years behind in basic reading and math! These eight and nine-year-old children have already lost self-confidence and believe school is not for them.

Cheryl Gipson Path2Math Tutor with Latino Boy_IMG_6527

We are facing a genuine danger of many more Black and Brown children in our lowest-income neighborhoods becoming more discouraged, giving up, and dropping out of middle school and high school. This leads to downstream issues like poverty and higher rates of criminal activity.

We are facing a genuine danger of many more Black and Brown children in our lowest-income neighborhoods becoming more discouraged, giving up, and dropping out of middle school and high school.

Children who have not graduated from high school are far more likely to live in poverty and engage in criminal behavior as adults. And when individuals in the community suffer, neighborhoods suffer.

The reinstatement of programs like Ceasefire should be applauded. However, until we truly address the core cause of so many of our societal problems upstream, we will face mounting challenges downstream when it’s often too late.

Yes, I can embrace a child in a circle of care!

 I want to learn more about online reading, math, or homework clinics to see if in-school tutoring is right for me!

I want to help fund Children Rising tutoring and mentoring programs to empower more children this year!

Empowering Lawrence: Homework Tutor Enables Child to Complete His Work

By Eric Steckel
February 8, 2024

A Heartwarming Journey from Struggle to Success in Homework and Math
Lawrence and Howard at work

“I like to play, so I can imagine that a second-grade kid like Lawrence only wants to play, right?” Homework tutor Howard makes learning fun for Lawrence.

Homework tutor Howard Fischer is young at heart. That’s good because Lawrence, one of the children Howard works with, would much rather be out playing with the other kids.

“I like to play, so I can imagine that a second-grade kid like Lawrence only wants to play, right? And you can hear it when he comes in, ‘I really want to be outside.’ Like, yeah, I understand that,” Howard says with a laugh. “Lawrence likes a little bit of entertainment, so you really have to work hard to keep him engaged and usually are rewarded for it.”

Will you complete HER Circle of Care?

Through one-on-one reading and math tutoring, and family support, you will nurture an eager child in a circle of care so they may succeed in school.

Homework tutoring is a recent addition to FamilyBridge. It was created to support families who struggle to find time to help their children with homework assignments. “Homework tutoring is much less structured than reading or math tutoring because it’s based on their assigned work. Each session is different, and resourcefulness is probably a strong trait for the tutor to possess,” he explained.

“Lawrence likes a little bit of entertainment, so you really have to work hard to keep them engaged and usually are rewarded for it.” — Howard Fischer, Lawrence’s tutor.

Homework support is all the more critical when considering that children like Lawrence are significantly behind the level of the homework that is assigned to them.

“I love that Howard is working with Lawrence,” Teresa Cole, Lawrence’s mother, shared. “We get the homework in advance so we can work together to complete it.”

Imn and Eric working at Path2Math

Your support provides Lawrence a caring homework tutor and math tutor. Partnering with Lawrence’s family and teachers, he is nurtured in a circle of care.

Like so many children in Oakland, Lawrence has personally experienced and felt the impact of violence in his neighborhood. He also missed kindergarten due to health issues. This partnership, which also includes Lawrence’s Path2Math tutor, helps nurture Lawrence in a circle of care. “To show up for people is such a gift. I’ve worked with youth before. When people know they can count on you, it’s incredibly valuable,” Howard said.

Teresa agrees the one-on-one approach is critical. “It is comforting to know that Lawrence is in good hands. He receives multiple forms of care from different directions. That’s so important. I am reminded of the saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’” Teresa said.

“It is comforting to know that Lawrence is in good hands. He receives multiple forms of care from different directions. That’s so important.”—Teresa Cole, Lawrence’s mother.

So far, Lawrence has made remarkable progress. His math scores have increased by nearly 1 ½ grade levels in just five months, and Teresa has seen an improvement in his work. ”I love the program. I hear him using words he’s learned at tutoring.”

Lawrence will continue to work with his tutors until he has caught up to grade level. He may walk into a session grumpy, but he always walks out with a smile.

Your monthly gift sustains Children Rising and provides children a fairer chance to succeed in school … and in life.

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